Tuesday, July 28, 2009
wfmw -- catching that run away dog
Our dog has a bad habit -- Running away.
When she sees an open door she feels the need to dash through it and run for the hills, or the corn fields, or the neighbor. The good/bad part of this is that she absolutely loves strangers and so whenever she sees someone new she will run straight to them and jump all over them and that is how we have generally gotten her back.
A few weeks ago we wrapped up an obedience class that for the most part didn't really teach us or her anything new, but they taught us one trick that we knew would eventually come in handy.
We practiced an emergency whistle. Using a regular whistle (like used in sporting events) we blew three loud, quick blasts and then gave her a special treat. In our case we used salami which she devoured, and she never gets it any other time.
Here's how we conditioned our dog.
First day -- while standing near the dog, blow whistle three times, give salami/treat. Repeat this TEN TIMES in close succession! Daisy loved this activity.
Second through fifth day -- while near the dog, blow whistle three times, give salami/treat. Repeat a few times at various locations in and around the house.
For another week -- repeat this exercise once a day always varying the environment so the dog learns that no matter where she is, if she hears those three whistles she has one amazing treat in store.
Once a week for the rest of your dog's life -- repeat this exercise so she doesn't forget.
Clearly not a quick fix, but does it work!!!! Today, we had the first time to really need this training. One of our outside doors got left propped open and Daisy took full advantage. We didn't realize it at first, looked all over inside the house and then found the open door.
Blake got very worried about losing "his" (that is, his when he wants to play, someone else's when it needs cleaning up after or a bath) dog, but I had a bit of confidence in our training. We got the whistle, got the salami, and went on the porch.
Three quick blasts on the whistle and Daisy cam dashing around the corner of the house to get her salami. Ahhhhhh. The thrill of success.
Generally, she has learned not to disappear out the door when we are looking so I didn't know that we would have need for this, but sometimes accidents happen, and it felt so good to be prepared.
Very easy and effective training technique to know you can always get your dog's attention in an emergency. Wonder if I should try this on my kids . . .
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